In line with guidance from the Ministry of Education, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will offer two learning scenarios:
In-Person Learning at School
For families who choose to have their child/children return to school in person, your elementary student(s) would return to school with enhanced safety measures and will be part of a common cohort of students to limit contact. Bell times and school day schedules will look like what students and families experienced prior to our school closures with 300 minutes of face-to-face teacher instruction for all subjects and strands of the curriculum. Students will have two, forty-minute nutrition breaks with staggered outdoor breaks with physical distancing maximized between cohorts. Like last year, increased health and safety measures will be in place including staggered entry and exit of students, frequent hand hygiene, the required use of masks for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 and enhanced cleaning measures as a few examples.
Sample School Day Schedule
|9:00 to 9:30 am||Staggered Student Entry and Period One|
|9:30 to 10:00 am||Period Two|
|10:00 to 10:30 am||Period Three|
|10:30 to 11:00 am||Period Four|
|11:00 to 11:40 am||Nutrition Break|
|11:40 to 12:10 pm||Period Five|
|12:10 to 12:40 pm||Period Six|
|12:40 to 1:10 pm||Period Seven|
|1:10 pm to 1:40 pm||Period Eight|
|1:40 pm to 2:20 pm||Nutrition Break|
|2:20 to 2:50 pm||Period Nine|
|2:50 pm to 3:20 pm||Period Ten and Staggered Student Dismissal|
Cohorting of Students
This practice limits the number of other students that a single student is in contact with. This practice will also facilitate contact tracing should that be necessary. Elementary school students will be cohorted with their classmates and with one teacher, where possible. Students may be placed into small groups (for example special education support, English-language learning) with students from other cohorts. Specialized teachers, like French teachers, will still be able to go into classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students.
School arrival and departure
Students will enter and exit our school sites and classrooms in controlled ways and under the supervision of staff. Entry and exit procedures will ensure adherence to physical distancing and other enhanced health and safety protocols such as wayfinding to support directionality and signage throughout the school.
Students from the same class cohort may eat together outdoors, or indoors, with a minimum distance of two meters maintained between cohorts. Students will be expected to engage in proper hand hygiene before and after eating.
Shared materials are important for learning (for example, toys for imaginative play in kindergarten, manipulatives for math, computers and other tech materials, books, art supplies, indoor physical education equipment and shared outdoor equipment). The use of shared materials is permitted. The risk of transmission with shared objects is low. The focus remains on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment, particularly when regular cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.
Expectations for Personal Belongings, Desks and Lockers
- Personal belongings brought to school should be minimized.
- Personal items being brought to school (for example backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food) should be labelled and stored separately in cubbies, designated areas or lockers.
- Student Desks: Desks should be placed with as much distance as possible. Desks should face forward rather than in circles or groupings.
- Student Lockers: Student Lockers will be permitted.
Schools should timetable bathroom breaks in the school day to stagger the use of bathrooms and monitor physical distancing. Signage will be posted that indicates the maximum number of people simultaneously using the bathroom at any given point. Individual students should not be prevented from accessing bathrooms as needed.
Rotary Teachers and Subjects
Rotary teachers are regarded as indirect contacts with students. Rotary and subject-specialized teachers (for example, French) will still be able to move between classrooms to provide instruction for students. In some cases, students will need to travel to other classrooms. In this instance, students should use school wayfinding and practice physical distancing while travelling throughout the school.
French Immersion students will continue to engage in the French Immersion program. Where possible, students will remain in their classroom and the teachers will rotate into the classrooms for instruction.
Kindergarten Considerations and Health & Safety
We know that physical distancing between young children is difficult and we encourage educators to maintain a welcoming and caring environment for children. Kindergarten educators will welcome and support children to play and learn in ways that adhere to enhanced health and safety requirements as established by WRDSB in cooperation with public health:
- Each kindergarten classroom will be considered a cohort, children attending kindergarten will participate in play-and inquiry-based learning.
- Educators will plan for learning opportunities that balance the need for increased physical distancing while recognizing the need for young children to move freely within the room and interact with one another.
When in the same common space (for example, entrances, dressing for outdoors in hallways) physical distancing of at least two metres will be maintained between different classroom cohorts.
Elementary Remote Learning School (ERLS)
The WRDSB will offer remote programs for students who wish to learn virtually. Visit the Elementary Remote Learning School (ERLS) website for more information.
For those families who opted to have their child learn remotely, students will learn at home using WRDSB platforms: Google Classroom and Brightspace (VLE).
Classes will be led by qualified educators at scheduled times during the school day. The time students will spend in remote learning will be the same amount of time as students who are learning in-person. It will be expected that students participate every day and attendance will be monitored. Families will be contacted in the case of an unreported absence to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.
Ontario curriculum will be taught, assessed and evaluated. ERLS educators will provide synchronous (real-time) learning opportunities which may include individual or small group support (video conferencing via Google Meet, phone calls), mini-lessons and content/skill-based instruction, as appropriate. Educators will also provide asynchronous (independent) learning opportunities.
Learn more about synchronous and asynchronous learning.
WRDSB families and students who require support with technology can refer to the Tech@Home website, which offers information on how to troubleshoot common issues with Chromebooks and iPads. You can quickly access this website using the button found on school websites.
Students will receive the daily minimum learning time:
- 180 minutes of live (synchronous) learning each day and 120 minutes of independent (asynchronous) learning each day.
Grades 1 to 8
- 225 minutes of live (synchronous) learning each day and 75 minutes of independent (asynchronous) learning each day.
For detailed information on student timetables, visit the Elementary Remote Learning School (ERLS) website.
Learn more about synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Remote Learning Programs
The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) Elementary Remote Learning School (ERLS) offers a Full Day Kindergarten program, the English program, and both Core French and French Immersion programs Grades 1 to 8.
In remote learning, educators are committed to getting to know their students as individuals and as learners so that all students achieve to the highest standard. The Elementry Remote Learning School is fully staffed with both special education resource teachers and guidance counsellors who work side by side with classroom educators to support student programming. All educators also have access to support from Learning Support Services, including staff who have specialized training in the areas of curriculum development and special education to support student programming.
Learn more on the Elementary Remote Learning School (ERLS) website.